S-Nicotine, the principal psychoactive constituent of Nicotiana tabacum, underpins addiction to tobacco smoking. Although tobacco consumption is a leading cause of death worldwide, nicotine itself is also proposed to have potential therapeutic benefits for a diverse range of conditions. Nicotine interacts with its cognate receptors in the central nervous system to exert a predominantly modulatory influence, making neuronal nicotinic receptors attractive therapeutic targets. Here, we focus on three natural products as lead compounds for drug discovery programs, nicotine, epibatidine and cytisine, and consider the aims and limitations that shape these drug discovery endeavors.
Cassels, B. K., Bermudez, I., Dajas, F., Abin-Carriquiry, J. A., & Wonnacott, S. (2005). From ligand design to therapeutic efficacy: the challenge for nicotinic receptor research. Drug Discovery Today, 10(23-24), 1657-1665. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1359-6446(05)03665-2